TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -During the parliament session on Tuesday, Abe once again denied that he used his influence to help his friend Kotaro Kake after opposition lawmakers alleged he had testified falsely before the lawmakers on Monday.
Parliament has heard allegations from lower-level staffers and gathered documents that show Abe’s office intervened to help Kake to open a new veterinary school in western Japan.
On Monday, Abe had repeatedly denied misusing his influence and said he learned of his friend’s plans only after Kake formally applied in January.
Opposition lawmakers say it is unthinkable that Abe was unaware of a years-old plan that other officials were aware of.
Following the Monday parliamentary hearing, activists staged a rally in Japan's capital, Tokyo, to protest Abe’s denial of the accusation.
Protesters, who rallied outside parliament, say they are unconvinced by Abe’s denials.
The protesters were seen holding placards and posters on which slogans such as “Abe steps down,” “thorough investigation on the school scandals” were written.
Abe’s attitude towards the allegation has aroused dissatisfaction among the general public, and Monday’s protest underscores people’s concern over the risks in Japan’s politics, analysts said.
The Japanese prime minister’s favoritism scandal surfaced in May as the selection process for the veterinary department to be opened at the Kake Educational Institution was said to be vague and ambiguous, and Abe’s office was said to have pulled the strings behind it.
Apart from the favoritism scandal, Abe also faced another allegation this year of possible involvement in a cut-price land deal, in which an 86 percent discount for a plot of government-owned land in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, was given to its buyer, school operator Moritomo Gakuen allegedly due to close ties between Abe’s wife and the school.
Abe’s popularity has plunged due to the damaging scandals. His Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has seen its support dive, falling two points to 25 percent in a Mainichi newspaper poll published on Monday.